Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Bradley Method

There are tons of different childbirth classes out there, one of the most well known being Lamaze. Jon and I hadn't really talked much about what sort of class to take until I began doing some research online. In my reading I came across the Bradley method, also known as "Husband Coached Childbirth." After talking to some friends of ours and doing some more research both Jon and I decided that this was the way we wanted to go. The Bradley method teaches natural childbirth and gives the mother and father (referred to as "the coach") knowledge and resources in order to be better prepared for labor.

The Bradley method is unique in a couple of ways. First of all this class is a huge proponent of non-medicated births. It is also a pretty extensive class; instead of an expected 4-6 classes, the Bradley classes are a 12 week long course that covers everything from nutrition, anatomy and physiology of labor, coaching, techniques for dealing with the different stages of labor and reaching as far as breastfeeding and postpartum preparation. The Bradley method views labor as a marathon and just like you would train to prepare your body for a marathon, it trains the mother to prepare her body to better handle the stress and pain of labor.

Another thing that we really like about the Bradley method is that the husband is an integral part of the birthing process. As the coach, he has to know what is going on, be able to read the signs of the stages of labor and be able to help make decisions if an alternative intervention is needed. Jon has felt that taking the class has removed so much of the mystery of labor- he now knows that labor comes in stages, dilation is only one of four indicators of the progress of labor (the others are station, effacement and position of the baby) and is familiar with many of the physical processes that occur surrounding and during labor. Taking the Bradley class means that not only does he know what is going on, but he can be much more involved in labor, coaching me into positions that will speed up labor and encouraging me with realistic specifics rather than just blindly assuring me that everything will be fine. He is thrilled to be as involved as possible in the birth of this baby.

We are now on to week 10 of our 12 week course and I can say that we have learned so much! Jon and I will be the first to tell you that we haven't agreed with everything in the class, but just being more informed has been a huge confidence booster for me. I've known and heard from people on both sides of the spectrum; those who think hospitals and doctors are unnecessary and those who are ready to schedule a c-section for the sake of convenience. We've talked about how to know when you should go to the hospital, what helps and what hinders contractions and been exposed to probably the most detailed account of what the process of birth is like. So, where do I fall now that I'm close to completely this Bradley class?

Well, I'm personally not on board with a home birth, but I really want to try and have this baby naturally. Before this class, the thought of going through labor without meds was just something I kind of admired, (my mom was able to that multiple times) but now I deeply desire to do it. This is something I want to experience; this method fits me well. Women have been doing this for thousands of years and I believe God made our bodies with the ability to do this on our own. So, here goes nothing! Jon and I have agreed that I will take medication if I really think things are becoming unmanageable, and of course if there is a serious need for medical intervention, we trust our doctor's experience. The reality is that the only outcome that matters is a safe and healthy baby, but we're excited to experience birth in this unique and amazing way. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

What's In a Name?

Being the oldest of four girls, I spent a lot of time playing with my sisters. Some of our favorite "games" were school, house, and yes, even church. That's what happens when you grow up as a pastor's kid. Apparently I liked to preach sermons, sing and I couldn't have a church service without passing around the offering plate to my little sisters. In our play times we would often make up new names for ourselves.

The name I always wanted to be called was Julie. Blame it on watching The Sound of Music over and over again, but I had a fascination with Julie Andrews. How could I not as I watched her twirl around singing "the hills are alive with the sound of music," or seeing her portray the practically perfect in every way nanny to two precocious little children? If you would have asked me then, I would have told you that Julie was my name.

Now I have grown up a bit, my love for the name Julie has faded, and it's never been in the running for our top baby girl name. Favorite names were a topic of random conversations during the first few years of our marriage, and before Jon and I found out the news that we were pregnant we had already (mostly) settled on our two favorite names. With us keeping the gender a secret (even to ourselves!) we decided to have mercy on our parents and at least reveal our top name choices. After a lot of discussion here is where we stand.

Baby Boy Groves:
Aiden Samuel Groves

Why do we love this name so much? Well one thing that attracted me to the name Aiden was that it was the first name of a theologian Jon and I have both grown to love: A.W. Tozer. The Knowledge of the Holy just one of his many phenomenal books, and if you have never read it, stop reading this post and go pick it up! Whatever Happened to Worship?: A Call to True Worship is another one of my favorites. I also couldn't help but notice that Aiden also means "Little Fire" appropriate for a little red-headed boy! Even if a little red-head escapes us this time, this name is still our front-runner should Baby Groves be a boy! We want each of our children to be able to look up at least part of their name in Scripture and see an example of God's faithfulness, and so his biblical middle is Samuel. Not only does it mean "God hears," but it's also in honor of Jon's Dad, whose middle name is also Samuel.

Baby Girl Groves:
Ainsley Elizabeth Groves

Let me first note that we didn't plan for both our boy and girl names to start with A. We just fell in love with these two names. Unfortunately one of the other girl names I hope to use at some point in time also starts with an A, but we're not letting that stop us. Jon came to love this name when he heard it on one of his favorite TV shows, The West Wing (the character is pictured above). He's always loved the name, thinking it both unique and beautiful, and I can't agree more. Her biblical middle name, Elizabeth, is a reference to John the Baptist's faithful mother and it means, "God is my oath."

So, of the myriad of things we don't know and cannot control in this pregnancy, here's something that's a sure thing: our baby will either be Aiden Samuel Groves, or Ainsley Elizabeth Groves. Either way, we can't wait to see our little baby Groves and call him or her by their name!